Belfast Telegraph

Calls for tougher security at City Airport after ‘lapse’

by Chris McCann

Concerns have been raised about security at George Best Belfast City Airport after a passenger boarded a flight to London without once being asked for ID.

The man — who did not wish to be identified — says he was surprised to pass through the airport’s security points and departure gate without being asked to display identification.

He was flying to Heathrow with airline bmi who told the Community Telegraph that “airlines are not obliged to check passenger identification with domestic flights”.

This has led one east Belfast MLA to call for tighter security at the airport following the incident.

The gentleman involved, said this week: “I had my boarding pass printed off, so went straight to security.

“I put my stuff in the tray, as usual, then went to departures.

“We were called to the gate, showed our boarding passes and walked on to the plane.

“When I was sitting on the plane I thought; ‘this is a bit strange’.

“I wasn’t asked for my ID until on the way back at Heathrow. I was flying with Aer Lingus this time.

“The flight on the way over was full, but I don’t think that’s an excuse. I don’t fly too often myself, but this did concern me slightly.

“We are often told how tight security is at airports, but this seemed like a lapse to me.”

DUP MLA for East Belfast Robin Newton said of the incident: “The maintenance of proper security at our airports is vitally important.

“At this time, there are many people, whether it be dissident republicans or Islamist extremists who would seek to target our country.

“I would urge the airport to ensure that whilst causing the minimum of possible delays to passengers, they guarantee that security is tight.

“We all want to ensure the community is kept safe.”

When contacted by the Community Telegraph, a spokesman for George Best Belfast City Airport said this was an issue for the airline.

A bmi spokesperson said: “For UK domestic flights such as Belfast to London, airlines are not obliged to check passenger identification under Home Office rules, however bmi staff will confirm passenger details before they board a flight.

“All passengers, whether domestic or international, are subject to security checks before boarding an aircraft.”

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